Raw Spirit: In Search of the Perfect Dram and have been daydreaming about going back to Scotland, perhaps even following in Banks' footsteps across the Islands and the Highlands. Strange serendipity, I just found out that I don't have to go that far for a wee dram of the old and rare. Instead I can head a few blocks north to Oberdorfstrasse to Glen Fahren.
I knew that the Zürcher are big whisky fans (that's malt whisky, no 'e', from Scotland). The Widder Bar's buyer/manager is a whisky fanatic and his single malt list is a thing of beauty. It's actually a great place to try a 30-year-old Macallan or any other fantastically expensive bottle you've always wanted to taste, because your little two-decaliter pour might dent your wallet but it won't break the bank. In any case, whiskies are pretty widely available here (in bars). Even the Globus Bar am Bellvue has Lagavullin 16. The Swiss know their whiskies. I just didn't realize that whisky nirvana was only a few steps away from my door. (Oh wow, oh wow. This is so cool.)
We actually spotted the shop while out walking and did double-takes when window display registered. About face and beeline for the door. The Lindenhof can wait.
That kind of enthusiasm doesn't go unnoticed and the proprietor came over. American? Wait. I have something for you. While he's gone, we keep whisky spotting. Highland Park. Mmm nice. Jura? Nobody stocks Jura. Look at all the Talliskers! Macallan Gran Reserva. Wow. And the Bowmores again.
Now I used to be a died-in-the-wool, don't-try-to-sell-me-that Islay-stuff Macallan fan. And the older the better, please. But once I had a wee dram of an Islay (probably a Lagavullin) while on a sailboat, I suddenly it got it. The salt air, the seaweed-salt tang and peat of the whisky. It all made sense. (We've actually made several sailing-induced conversions to Islay whiskies among our friends.) After that, I started to love these "strange, fierce, acerbic whiskies," as Banks calls them.
But we can't leave without an Islay. At the proprietor's urging we settle on the Bowmore Darkest. We pay up and by now I'm feeling a bit guilty about indulging in all this non-Swiss distilled product. But wait, just as we leave we spot a single malt from Appenzell. Who even knew such a thing existed? Now we definitely have to come back. And of course there's that Pedro Jiminez Sherry Cask Bruichladdich to try as well...